Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center researcher looking closer at the phyllosphere

September 12, 2019 |

In Michigan, a new study in Nature Communications, Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center scientists at Michigan State University have focused on understanding more about the plant regions above the soil where these microbes can live, called the “phyllosphere.” Researchers classified core members of this community in two bioenergy cropping systems: switchgrass and miscanthus. In so doing, the group made important distinctions about how these communities assemble – and how they’re connected to microbes in the soil.

Microorganisms that dwell in the phyllosphere are thought to play a role in their host’s growth and health. And, like their subterranean kin, the topside microbiome affects how much phosphorus, nitrogen and other nutrients bioenergy crops can keep out of our waterways and atmosphere.

The lead researcher says the first step in determining how to maximize production of these bioenergy crops is figuring out which taxa, or kinds of organisms, are long-term residents and which might just be passing through.

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Category: Research

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